Included here for historical interest (and amusement) are some of the earliest incarnations of Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe.


This is the earliest list I could unearth, showing YOIS's humble origins as a newsgroup post. The entire Shoppe -- sales list, wanted list, and Infocom-style transcript -- is about 23K in size. By comparison, the current Shoppe is about 530K of code with about 1MB for the database, and about 11MB of images.

There were earlier posts than this, as evidenced by the "*" tag for newly-added items, but I couldn't find any even on Google. I first started seriously trading (as opposed to just buying up old software left and right) during my first summer out of college. Before that I was posting games for auction and updating the lists manually. eBay was just getting started, and I didn't even start buying there until about two years later. Nowadays, it's hard to imagine collecting without it.

Reading through the list, it's amazing how little I had to offer in trade back then. Not to mention being able to fit my entire collection in a single closet. I still needed a few greys and most of the folios, and anything still in shrinkwrap impressed me. Note my excitement in having not one, but TWO shrinkwrapped Cutthroats. Nowadays, it's the most dirt-common grey box by a long shot. The Shoppe's "room description" hasn't changed much at all in six years.

Most embarrassing is the "special offer" at the end of the page. I ended up with lots of extra cards because of a bad habit of taking them out of my personal copies to compare variations more easily, but then not remembering to put them back when I swapped in better collector's pieces.

Subject: "Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" -- Classic I-F For Sale
Date: 1996/09/06

Wind-Swept Hill
You are standing on a grassy, wind-swept hill, with no idea how you got
here.  The hill slopes down on all sides to black, scraggy trees devoid of
leaves.  Just to your right is a decrepit wooden building, a faded sign
swinging slightly in the chill breeze.

>READ THE SIGN
The sign reads:

                     ===================================
                     |                                 |
                     |                                 |
                     |     Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe    |
                     |                                 |
                     |                                 |
                     |     C.E. Forman, proprietor     |
                     |                                 |
                     |                                 |
                     |            Est. 1996            |
                     |                                 |
                     |                                 |
                     ===================================

>OPEN THE DOOR THEN ENTER THE SHOP
The unused hinges squeal loudly as the door opens.

Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe
You gasp in awe at the stacks of classic Infocom packages that dominate all
corners of this dimly-lit establishment.  Scanning the titles, your heart
soars.  You've been looking for these for years, and at long last you've
found them!

In the far corner, someone behind a counter nods a greeting.  Coming closer,
you see two long lists tacked to the front of the counter.

>READ THE LIST
Which list do you mean, the list of items for sale/trade, or the list of
wanted items?

>THE SALE/TRADE LIST
=============================================================================
|                                                                           |
|                 Items For Sale or Trade (make an offer)                   |
|                 ---------------------------------------                   |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| INFOCOM GAMES                                                             |
| -------------                                                             |
| (unless stated otherwise, games are grey-box format, with all props)      |
| ("*" indicates a recently added item)                                     |
|                                                                           |
| "BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception"                               |
| For MS-DOS, 5.25" disks only (though I'll make copies on request).        |
| Missing the rare collector's pin included with the first 5000 copies.     |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
|*"Bureaucracy"                                                             |
| Atari ST, STILL IN SHRINKWRAP!!!                                          |
|                                                                           |
| "Bureaucracy"                                                             |
| Apple II, missing the Popular Paranoia flyer and the plastic box lid.     |
|                                                                           |
| "Bureaucracy"                                                             |
| Amiga, missing the Popular Paranoia flyer and the plastic box lid.        |
|                                                                           |
| "Cutthroats", Commodore, STILL IN ORIGINAL SHRINKWRAP!!!                  |
|                                                                           |
| "Cutthroats", Commodore, STILL IN ORIGINAL SHRINKWRAP!!!                  |
| (No, not a cut-and-paste goof.  I have two copies like this.)             |
|                                                                           |
| "Cutthroats", Atari ST                                                    |
|                                                                           |
|*"Deadline"                                                                |
| Commodore 64, in Commodore re-release packaging.  Folder is somewhat      |
| squashed.                                                                 |
|                                                                           |
| "Enchanter", Atari ST                                                     |
|                                                                           |
| "Enchanter", Apple II, missing the scroll and the plastic box lid.        |
|                                                                           |
| "Hitchhiker's Guide"                                                      |
| Amiga, box is somewhat squashed, but STILL IN SHRINKWRAP!!!               |
|                                                                           |
| "Hollywood Hijinx"                                                        |
| Apple II, missing the will and photo                                      |
|                                                                           |
| "Infidel", Atari ST                                                       |
|                                                                           |
| "Leather Goddesses of Phobos"                                             |
| Apple II, Solid Gold package, STILL IN SHRINKWRAP!!!                      |
|                                                                           |
| "Mind Forever Voyaging"                                                   |
| Apple II, some damage, missing the plastic cover.                         |
|                                                                           |
| "Seastalker", IBM                                                         |
|                                                                           |
| "Seastalker", Atari ST                                                    |
|                                                                           |
| "Shogun"                                                                  |
| For MS-DOS, 5.25" disks only (though I'll make copies on request).        |
| Box is somewhat squashed.                                                 |
|                                                                           |
| "Suspended"                                                               |
| Commodore 64, in Commodore re-release packaging.  Contains original map   |
| and icons, not the crappy photocopy like LTOI.  STILL IN SHRINKWRAP!!!    |
|                                                                           |
| "Suspended"                                                               |
| Commodore 64, in Commodore re-release packaging, as above, w/o            |
| shrinkwrap.                                                               |
|                                                                           |
| "Witness", Macintosh 3.5", missing manual, some damage.                   |
|                                                                           |
| "Zork 1", Apple II, Solid Gold packaging.                                 |
|                                                                           |
| "Zork 2", Atari ST                                                        |
|                                                                           |
|*"Zork 3"                                                                  |
| Commodore 64, in Commodore re-release packaging, with special cover art.  |
| Folder is somewhat squashed.                                              |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| INFOCOM NOVELS                                                            |
| --------------                                                            |
|                                                                           |
| "Enchanter" by Robin W. Bailey                                            |
|                                                                           |
| "Planetfall" by Arthur Byron Cover.                                       |
|                                                                           |
| "Wishbringer" by Craig Shaw Gardener.                                     |
| "Wishbringer" by Craig Shaw Gardener.                                     |
| "Wishbringer" by Craig Shaw Gardener.                                     |
|                                                                           |
| "The Zork Chronicles" by George Alec Effinger.                            |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| SPECIFIC PROPS FROM INFOCOM GAMES                                         |
| ---------------------------------                                         |
|                                                                           |
| "Bureaucracy" pencil                                                      |
| "Mind Forever Voyaging" Dakota magazine                                   |
| "Mind Forever Voyaging" map of Rockvil                                    |
| "Mind Forever Voyaging" code wheel                                        |
| "Seastalker" Infocard #5/6                                                |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| OTHER CLASSIC ADVENTURE PACKAGES                                          |
| --------------------------------                                          |
|                                                                           |
| "Aztec"                                                                   |
| Action-adventure for Commodore 64.                                        |
|                                                                           |
| "The Bard's Tale 1"                                                       |
| From Electronic Arts.  For Apple II, also includes extra disks with a     |
| great set of characters, armed and ready for Mangar's Tower.              |
|                                                                           |
|*"The Guild of Thieves"                                                    |
| Atari ST, by Rainbird, in near-mint condition.  Contains ALL props (die,  |
| thieves' magazine, contract, card for Bank of Kerovnia).                  |
|                                                                           |
| "King's Quest 3"                                                          |
| From Sierra, for Apple II.                                                |
|                                                                           |
|*"Knight Orc"                                                              |
| Apple II, by Level 9, distributed by Rainbird, in near-mint condition.    |
| (The Apple release is text-only.)                                         |
|                                                                           |
|*"The Pawn"                                                                |
| IBM PC, by Rainbird.                                                      |
|                                                                           |
| "Police Quest 1"                                                          |
| From Sierra, for Apple II.                                                |
|                                                                           |
| "Sentry"                                                                  |
| Atari ST, STILL IN SHRINKWRAP!!!                                          |
| Some kind of role-playing/strategy game.  Can't say much more.            |
|                                                                           |
| "Silicon Dreams"                                                          |
| Commodore, way-cool plastic case, STILL IN SHRINKWRAP!!!                  |
| From Level 9, distributed by Firebird.  Contains the Kim Kimberly trilogy |
| of sci-fi games: "Snowball", "Return to Eden", and "Worm in Paradise".    |
|                                                                           |
| "Silicon Dreams"                                                          |
| Atari ST, way-cool plastic case, STILL IN SHRINKWRAP!!!                   |
| (See description above.)                                                  |
|                                                                           |
| "Tass Times in ToneTown"                                                  |
| Graphic adventure designed by Michael Berlyn.  From our pals at           |
| Activision back before they sucked.  Amiga, disk and manual only.         |
|                                                                           |
=============================================================================

You stagger back in awe at the selection, your senses reeling.

>EXAMINE THE LIST OF WANTED ITEMS
=============================================================================
|                                                                           |
|                           Items I Will Trade For                          |
|                           ----------------------                          |
|                                                                           |
|                  (Any condition and platform acceptable)                  |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| INFOCOM GREY-BOX PACKAGES                                                 |
| -------------------------                                                 |
| "Planetfall"                                                              |
| "Plundered Hearts"                                                        |
| "Sherlock"                                                                |
| "Suspect" (the cover with the ugly kinda-pinkish background that's        |
|            depicted in older Infocom catalogs; I have the other cover)    |
| "Zork 1"                                                                  |
| "Zork Trilogy" (not the individual Zorks 1-3)                             |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| INFOCOM LATE-80s PACKAGES                                                 |
| -------------------------                                                 |
| "Arthur"                                                                  |
| "BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Revenge"                                 |
| "Circuit's Edge"                                                          |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| EARLY '80s FLAT BOX PACKAGES:                                             |
| -----------------------------                                             |
| "Infidel"                                                                 |
| "Seastalker"                                                              |
| "Sorcerer"                                                                |
| "Starcross" (UFO)                                                         |
| "Suspended" (mask)                                                        |
| "Witness"                                                                 |
| "Zork 1"                                                                  |
| "Zork 2"                                                                  |
| "Zork 3"                                                                  |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| OTHER FORMATS                                                             |
| -------------                                                             |
| "Zork 1" and "Starcross" Commodore repackagings                           |
| The rare TRS-80 "Zork" with the barbarian cover.                          |
| Any of the original Sampler disks, or the "Zork" demo versions.           |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| SPECIFIC PROPS FROM INFOCOM GAMES                                         |
| ---------------------------------                                         |
| "BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception" collector's pin               |
| "Journey" velvet sack with crystal                                        |
| "Planetfall" postcards and Stellar Patrol ID                              |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| INFOCOMICS                                                                |
| ----------                                                                |
| "GammaForce: Pit of a Thousand Screams"                                   |
| "ZorkQuest 2: The Crystal of Doom"                                        |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| OTHER (NON-INFOCOM) GAMES                                                 |
| -------------------------                                                 |
| "Alter Ego" (Activision) (either version)                                 |
| "Breakers" (Broderbund)                                                   |
| "Cyborg" (Sentient Software)                                              |
| "Deadly Summer" (Broderbund)                                              |
| "Essex" (Broderbund)                                                      |
| "House of Changes" (Broderbund)                                           |
| "Legend of BlackSilver" (Epyx, IBM format only)                           |
| "Lode Runner" (Broderbund, IBM format only)                               |
| "Lode Runner's Rescue" (Broderbund, IBM or Apple II only)                 |
| "Mindwheel" (Broderbund)                                                  |
| "Myth" (Magnetic Scrolls)                                                 |
| "Portal"                                                                  |
| "Ronin" (Broderbund)                                                      |
| "The Prisoner"                                                            |
| "Time Zone" (Sierra)                                                      |
| "Twilight's Ransom"                                                       |
|                                                                           |
| Any Rainbird/Level 9 games, except for "Silicon Dreams", "The Jewels of   |
|   Darkness", and "Knight Orc".                                            |
|                                                                           |
|                                                                           |
| MISCELLANEOUS:                                                            |
| --------------                                                            |
| "Enchanter Trilogy" slipcase box                                          |
| "Science Fiction Classics" slipcase box                                   |
| Any Invisiclues packets                                                   |
| Any issues of "New Zork Times" or "The Status Line"                       |
| Any of the Infocom posters released in the '80s                           |
| Infocom T-Shirts (I believe they offered them with NZT once)              |
| "Guild of Thieves" T-shirts or sweatshirts                                |
| The Personal Software "Zork I" manual.                                    |
| The book "The Art of Computer Game Design", by Chris Crawford             |
| "The Quill" Commodore/Spectrum adventure-writing system                   |
| Any other early adventure games you think I might be interested in        |
|                                                                           |
| Any of the following Infocom catalogs:                                    |
|                                                                           |
|   "Our Worlds, and Welcome to Them"                                       |
|   "Infocom Games and Accessories"                                         |
|   "Our Circuits Ourselves!"                                               |
|   "Infocom Transports You to Six New Worlds in 1986"                      |
|                                                                           |
=============================================================================

Clearly you are dealing with a true fanatic here.

As you scan the list, a third notice marked "SPECIAL OFFER" catches your eye.

>READ SPECIAL OFFER

                   ========================================
                   |                                      |
                   |  Everyone who TRADES with me will    |
                   |  receive, at no extra cost, a small  |
                   |  packet of old game catalogs,        |
                   |  Infocom reference cards, and        |
                   |  anything else I run across!         |
                   |                                      |
                   ========================================

"By the way," adds the figure behind the counter, "if you want to be added to
Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe's mailing list, just say so.  That way you'll
automatically receive new versions of my lists whenever I update them."

>BUY A GAME FROM C.E. FORMAN

[You have reached the boundary of this simulation.]


Around November of 1996, the list started getting too long to post. For a brief time it was available by e-mail request only. Realizing the need for a web page, but lacking the time and skills to build it myself, I petitioned the collecting community for help.

Subject: Attention Collectors: New Version of "Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" List
Date: 1996/11/16

A new version of the "Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" list is now available.
It's grown quite large, so I've opted not to post it in its entirety.
Please mail me if you'd like the current stock.  (Lots of neat items
this time around, including some InfoComics and a couple of Wishbringers
with the glow-in-the-dark stones!)

Also, I'm looking for someone to create and maintain a web site with
the list on it, as I don't have time to do so myself.  Please mail me
if you'd be interested.


Jay Goemmer responded, and put together an HTML version of the existing Shoppe list. This is the original post announcing the web-based YOIS. For quite some time, I would send the most recent lists to Jay to be posted (thus getting him first crack at the new stuff). Back then I figured about a half-dozen updates a year would keep the list pretty much up-to-date... shyeah, RIGHT! I've also come to realize that I can no longer accurately describe the current FAQ as "mercifully brief".

Subject: "Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" Now Available on the Web
Date: 1996/11/27

Attention Infocom collectors!

        The official "Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" web page is now up and
running!  It contains the current inventory of "Ye Olde Infocomme
Shoppe" (affectionately abbreviated as "YOIS"), as well as a mercifully
brief FAQ.  The file currently totals 37 K, and is accessible from:

                http://netnow.micron.net/~jgoemmer/

Just click on "INFOCOM Text Adventure Games," and then "Ye Olde
Infocomme Shoppe!"

        The list will be updated approximately 5-6 times per year, as
the stock of "Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" changes.

        Other Infocom-related links from this page include Paul David
Doherty's "INFOCOM Fact Sheet" (70 K), Peter Scheyen's on-line
"InvisiClues (tm) Hints" and "Game Solutions and Walkthroughs", and a
review of the "MASTERPIECES" multi-platform CD-ROM Compilation, as well
as Activision's INFOCOM home page.


Even in the early days, I understood the concept of shameless self-promotion. B-)

Subject: "Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" update
Date: 1996/12/13

Only 12 more shopping days until Christmas!

Give the I-F lover in your life the gift of classic Infocom packages!

"Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" has a great set of shrinkwrapped packs,
arriving just in time for the holidays.  To see the complete list,
send an e-mail reply to this message or follow the last link in the
signature.


For more YOIS history, refer to the "About the Shoppekeeper" page.


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